Darkness, the Unknown, and Surprises

During worship at church a couple months ago, our worship team introduced this song to the congregation. My best friend Shelby was leading worship that morning and reminded us of being little kids who were afraid of the dark until we turned on our night lights and could see enough that things weren’t so scary anymore. Then, she compared the night light to Jesus. Just like the night light, but even better, we don’t have to fear anything, because Jesus is the Light that shines through our darkest nights.

In Harry Potter, Harry and Remus Lupin are having a conversation. Lupin looks at Harry and in the same way he often does, he gives him fatherly advice. He tells him, “It is the unknown we fear in death and darkness, nothing more.” I found this simple statement to be very profound.

In my favorite show, Heartland, the main girl, Amy, freaks out when she finds out her sister, Lou, and their grandpa Jack know her boyfriend, Ty, is going to propose and don’t tell her. The whole thing is completely irrational. She knows that, I know that, and everyone else in the show and who has seen it knows it too. And yet, she still freaks out. She still demands to know why they didn’t tell her he was going to propose. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but not an uncommon reaction.

I grew up with twelve younger brothers and sisters and we only had three bedrooms in our home. One for our parents and the baby, another for the boys, and the last for the girls. With so many little kids in our room, we always slept with a nightlight. Now, as an adult, I still can’t sleep without a light on. Part of the reason is due to habit, but another part is due to my irrational fear of the unknown parts of darkness. When Shelby made the comparison of night lights and Jesus, it really hit home for me. I still sleep with a nightlight, so it was easy for me to see the analogy. Jesus is the much more powerful night light of my life. And thank God for that, because I also totally relate to Lupin’s quote about darkness and the unknown. I can’t stand the unknown.

Honestly, I’m fine with not being in control. I don’t like leading and I’d probably mess everything up if I tried leading my own life anyway. What I’m not always so fine with is not knowing what’s going to happen next or how it’s going to happen. I know God will provide for me. He always has and He always will. I just wish He would also show me the blueprints every now and then. That’s not how God works though and today I realized maybe that’s because He wants to give us a happy surprise. Like Ty, Lou, and Jack, for Amy, God wants me to be happy—not always in the way I think is best, but always in the way He knows is best. Sometimes, me being happy means waiting for Him to surprise me with a gift even better than a diamond ring—though I sure do hope that’s in my future too someday.

A few months ago, the AC went out in my car. It wasn’t that big of a deal, because it was winter, but I live in Texas. More days than not, it’s in the 90’s and feels like the 100’s and my primary job is for Uber Eats so I’m in the car for several hours a day. The problem is, I’ve only just had enough money to pay my regular bills the past several months. I couldn’t possibly see how I would be able to pay to fix my air conditioner. While I was stressing and fussing about how I had no idea how it could be fixed before the worst days of summer, I nearly ruined a beautiful surprise God had for me.

Sunday afternoon, my pastor noticed I had a box fan in my car. Naturally, he put two and two together to realize I didn’t have a working AC. He quickly told me he would talk with the guy who is basically our church mechanic—nearly everyone goes to Him when we’ve got car problems—and said they would take care of it for me. Then, he offered to let me use his mostly unused extra car until it was fixed. At first, I rejected the offer to use his car and kind of wanted to say no to him fixing my car. Part of it was a pride issue—but that’s a post for another time—and part of it was just me being irrational. I was so consumed with wanting to know why God wouldn’t tell me how He would provide for me, that I nearly ruined His surprise fix.

Barely over 48 hours later, I was pulling away from my pastor’s house and these three concepts I’ve been dwelling on suddenly came together. Because Jesus is the Light in darkness, I should embrace the surprises He has in store for me instead of freaking out and fearing the unknown.

*Bonus* Remember, the passions and people in your life are gifts from God. He’s totally okay with you having passions and loving people, in fact, He made you that way. Just be careful to acknowledge Him as the Giver and them as the gift when He speaks through your passions and people. I know He wants to use our passions and people to speak to us because that’s almost always how He speaks to me, but we have to be careful when He does. We have to remember, they are simply the burning bushes God uses to share His presence and power with us.

Good-Bye Alan, Dave, Christina, Carrie, and Debbie!

We’ve lost a lot of celebrities in 2016. To the world of fandoms though, they weren’t just celebrities. They were people who touched our lives as much as, if not more than, those people we actually see and talk to every day. I’ve decided to write an obituary of sorts for each the celebrities that in one way or another have touched and affected my life. I’ll admit, I can’t claim to be a part of any of these celebrities’ fandoms, but I can say that I respected each of them in their own right and in that manner, have been a fan of them.

Alan Rickman: I have by no means been a fan of you directly, simply because I’ve only ever seen you in Harry Potter and I’m not exactly a fan of Professor Snape to begin with. That being said, the Harry Potter series wouldn’t be what it is without your portrayal of Professor Severus Snape. You did an excellent job of bringing him to life. Thank you for that. Thank you for being a part of a fandom that has given so many people a hopeful escape from the “real world.”

Dave Mirrar: I can’t say I was ever a deliberate fan of you either. Growing up, I was always a fan of the X Games though and that’s why I have a vague memory of who you are. Once upon a time, I dreamed of being a part of the X Games. While that dream died as my childhood turned into adolescence, my ability to dream never did. That came in large part with because I spent so many years watched the X Games and watching guys like you follow their dreams. Thank you for that.

Christina Grimmie: 22 years old. I devoted a whole blog post to you Miss Grimmie. I wasn’t a part of your fandom. I was a fan though. I was a fan your dedication and perseverance. I was a fan of your seemingly humble spirit. You are maybe one of the most popular stars to come from YouTube. You paved the way for girls like me. You showed us that with some work and dedication we might be able to make something of ourselves by posting videos of our music and covers of other people’s music. Thank you for being a shining light in a dark world. Even after your untimely death, you’ve shone so brightly. Thank you.

Carrie Fisher: To be honest, I didn’t watch Star Wars before I was fifteen and haven’t watched again until today. I was a fan of Star Wars though. My childhood best friend’s brother use to “train” us in the way of the force and we’d fight each other lightsabors. It was awesome! Thank you for being a part of the reason I have those childhood memories. Thank you for being one of the female leads, like Natalie Portman after you as your “mother”, who showed girls that we can kick ass just like the boys can.

Debbie Reynolds: I didn’t watch Halloweentown until this past summer as a part of my goal to “binge and blog” the 100 DCOM’s. Nonetheless, I am still beyond grateful that you took us all to Halloweentown. It was so much fun to watch. Thank you! Thank you for take me to Halloweentown! Even as a 22-year-old girl, it was a pleasure to go with you! Thank you further for reminding us that “being normal is vastly overrated.” I am a firm believer that being weird is just a side effect of being awesome and your role as Aggie Cromwell only further proved my belief! Thank you!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (with SPOILERS, duh!)

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” I’ve waited YEARS for this story! As the story began, I must admit, I was feeling rather disappointed in how it was written. Most of the first act left me feeling disappointed and I almost dreaded continuing the story. It felt a lot like a fan fiction to me. I have no problem with fan fictions, but when I’m reading a story by the original author, a fan fic feel is not pleasant. Toward the end of the first act, things started to pick up some. I was getting into it more. Still, I wasn’t really feeling it much. It still seemed a bit… well, I guess still like a fan fic, a better quality fan fic, but still a fan fic. Finally, when Scorpius found himself in the Land of Voldemort, that’s when I really started to get into the story. I could see and feel how it was definitely a story by J.K. Rowling. It finally started to have the same feel that the original series has.

The Land of Voldemort hit me in the feels like a ton of bricks. Not only did I have to come face to face with Umbridge again, but I also had to come face to face with Voldemort again. Just thinking either name makes my skin crawl. Worse even still is that I had to come face to face with Snape again! The feels! I can’t even. My heart hurts so much! I’m not a huge fan of Snape, because I don’t care how in love he was or what he did or didn’t do to ‘redeem’ himself, he was an ass! Still, it sucks that he had to die. I feel like he could have redeemed himself in a better way than death by proving his character could be better. So, yes, his death did hurt! It hurt more when his soul was sucked from him just after Hermione and Ron’s souls were sucked from them. I know it wasn’t technically them, but I don’t care, seeing alternate worlds where Ron and Hermione were not only not married, but also killed by Dementores was AWFUL. It still hurts! I was SO GLAD when I read about Ron asking Hermione to renew their vows in the real world. It also hurt a LOT to see Cedric again. I wasn’t expecting to see him so up close and personal. My heart still hurts.

To be honest, I’m not a fan of Albus Severus Potter. He’s a jerk. I don’t care if he’s only shown from the ages of eleven to fourteen, he was a jerk. I do however really like Scorpius. It was a pleasant surprise to see that J.K. Rowling decided to redeem the Malfoy name in such an endearing way. It wasn’t enough to have Scorpius not be a jerk like his father once was, he was a genuinely sweet and lovable kid. His father. Oh. My. Gosh. I’m kind of in love with his father. Draco was a jerk for a really long time, but he was also incredibly misunderstood and lonely. He was in the most hated Hogwarts house. He was rejected by the one boy he hoped would be his friend—Harry Potter, and his parents were well-known Death Eaters. I always felt he redeemed himself the tiniest bit toward the end of the series. I also feel that he has officially redeemed himself in this new story. He still seems to have a few jerkish qualities, but he also seems to try to be kinder. As for Harry Potter, I like that we saw him from a third person point of view in this story rather than a first person point of view. We were able to see his flaws a bit more clearly, but we were also able to see the strengths that we’ve always known and loved. That is why Ginny married him after all. He saw her when few other people saw her. He loved her, even before he loved her, because that’s who he is. He was the unloved boy under the staircase, so he tries to love everyone. He fails in big ways sometimes, but his heart is almost always pointed in the right direction.

I love Ginny Weasley/Potter so much! I wish she had been shown a bit more in this story and in the previous stories too. If this is going to be last story we ever get from J.K. Rowling then it would have been nice to see more of her, but at least we saw her. We didn’t see any of James Sirius or Lilly Luna Potter, which irritates me a lot. We also didn’t see any of Hugo or much of Rose Granger-Weasley. We saw a bit of Rose, but only because she’s the same age as Albus and Scorpius.

What really got me into the story though was after Scorpius was able to get back to the real world with Albus and their families. Delphi. Dude! She came out of nowhere didn’t she? I suppose, maybe I should have at least had an inkling of an idea that she was the darkness in Albus’ world but beyond thinking she wasn’t the greatest of influences, I didn’t think much of her. Then she revealed who she really was. She revealed that she was evil and Harry and company learned that she was Voldemort’s daughter! Dude! How crazy is that? I suppose, maybe it’s not too crazy. Bellatrix always did love Voldemort just a little too much, but still! I was quite glad that it was a new villain and not actually Voldemort who was making Harry’s scar hurt. I didn’t really think it would be Voldemort, but I wasn’t sure of who or what else it could be. I must admit, my heart broke for Delphi when she revealed that what she really wanted was to see and talk to her father. No matter how good or bad our parents may be there’s always a part of us that wants to prove ourselves to them and often the desire to prove something to them is overpowered or multiplied in power by the desire to make them proud.

My heart broke all over again when Harry talked about always being an orphan. Then it shattered as he listened to his parents be murdered while squeezing tight to Ginny and Albus’ hands. I don’t know if my heart will ever be able to be mended again, but there’s only way to find out. I’m going to reread all of the books again! Then I’ll probably watch the movies and anxiously await the release of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” It may not be a Harry Potter story, but I feel like it’s almost better in its own way, because it’s a brand new story with brand new characters!

I was not a fan of the first act really at all. The second got better, but really the whole first part of the book was rather dull and not entirely interesting to me. I loved Part Two so much though that it doesn’t really matter what happened in Part One. Draco Malfoy is a nicer better man whom I love. Harry Potter is the same troubled soul with a heart of gold that he’s always been. Ginny Weasley shed an interesting light on who she was as a young girl—someone who, like Draco, envied the friendship Ron, Hermione, and Harry shared. Hermione is still a badass and Ron…well, to be honest, Ron seemed a lot more like the idiot from the movies than the sarcastic and sometimes clever friend from the books. I guess I wasn’t really a fan of his character in this book. Albus, though a jerk through the bulk of the book, ended the story as someone who seemed like he would grow into a great wizard and an even greater man. Scorpius stole the show though. He is one of my top favorite characters from all of the books. Will I read this book again? I absolutely will! Was it my favorite? No! It wasn’t! “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is my favorite book—because I love Ginny and Harry and that’s when they get together. Still, whether my favorite or not, I’m glad I read it. I’m glad it was written. I WILL read it again.